Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”
They came again to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do these things?”
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; then answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism from heaven or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’”—they were afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought that John was truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. When they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought a coin. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them. “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question him any longer.
Sitting across from the temple treasury, he watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. Summoning his disciples, he said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had —all she had to live on.”
As he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings!”
Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another—all will be thrown down.”
While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
Jesus told them, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed; these things must take place, but it is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
“But in those days, after that tribulation: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. He will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“Now concerning that day or hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son —but only the Father.
“Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming.
“It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his servants, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise, when he comes suddenly he might find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!”
1) Express to Jesus your trust in Him. (reference for further reading: Psalm 9:10; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 55:11; James 1:6-8, 4:2-3)
Jesus, we praise You, because You always keep Your word. If You say it, it will come to pass. Lord, help us to pray without doubt, fully trusting in You. Help us to pray boldly trusting Your heart toward us. Lead us to pray according to Your Word and not according to our selfish desires. Help us to rest securely in our relationship with You.
2) Ask Jesus to help us forgive, as we are forgiven. (ref. Psalm 103:12; Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Matt. 18:21-22; Eph.4:32; Col. 3:13)
Jesus, make us to be agents of Your grace and Your abundant forgiveness. We release and forgive all who have sinned against us. We pray Your blessing and Your highest will for each one. We, also, receive Your forgiveness for our sins. We trust You to cast them as far as the East is from the West.
3) Ask Jesus for wisdom. (ref. Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 7:24; Colossians 3:16; James 1:5)
Jesus, You alone are truly and perfectly wise. You have told us to ask for wisdom, so we ask now, with great expectation. Let Your Word dwell in us and let us have the courage to put Your Word into practice; so that we may encourage, strengthen and build up those around us with all wisdom and understanding.
4) Ask Jesus to help us give and love sacrificially. (ref. Luke 6:38; John 13:34-35, 15:13; 1 John 3:16, 4:8-9; 1 Peter 4:8)
Jesus, help us to love You with all of our being and to love others as ourselves. Oh God, You are love! Fill us with Your perfect love! Lord, let us trust and love You so much, that we can’t help but sacrificially give of our time, talents and treasures. Like the poor widow, let us lay down all that we have and all that we are at Your feet.
5) Ask Jesus to help us stay alert and ready for His return.
(ref. Matthew 25:1-13, 23; Colossians 4:2-6; 1 Peter 5:8-11; Revelation 3:2-3; 11:15)
Jesus, help us to be ready for the Day of the Lord, when You come again. Keep us awake, alert, and doing your will. We long to see Your return and to see Your purposes fulfilled. We look forward to the day when the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our Lord.
*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible, Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Christian Standard Bible and CSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.